The Goodbye Bride

By: Denise Hunter

The doctor looked to be in his thirties with messy brown hair, blue eyes, and round glasses. He looked like Harry Potter. How could she remember Harry Potter when she couldn’t remember losing the only man she’d ever loved? How could seven months of her life simply slip her mind? She had a man—a fiancé!—she didn’t even remember. What had she been doing the last seven months? Where had she been living?

“Lucy . . .?” Zac said. “Your last memory.”

She cleared her throat and thought hard. “Um, we were walking home from the Roadhouse—Zac’s restaurant. It was cold. We said goodbye at the door.”

She had a sudden flash of memory, and her eyes cut to Zac. “You picked up the pumpkin on my porch and pretended it was talking.”

She’d laughed at his antics, and she’d been relieved to see a glimpse of his old self. He’d been so blue since his daddy had passed. After he’d set the pumpkin down, he’d pulled her into his arms and told her he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life with her.

She searched his eyes now and saw the glimmer of memory before he looked away.

“How long ago was that?” the doctor asked Zac, oblivious to the tension hovering in the room.

“The end of October,” Zac said.

The doctor closed his chart. “Well . . . you’ve obviously got a concussion and some retrograde amnesia. That means your injury caused a loss of memory.”

“Will she get it back?”

The doctor shrugged. “She may or may not. It varies by person. Sometimes being around familiar things and people helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’m inclined to check her in for the night to keep an—”

“No, sir,” Lucy said. She couldn’t get out of this place quick enough. “I don’t want to stay. I need to get home. You said my CT was just fine.”

“Perfectly normal. And I’m open to the option of sending you home, but only if someone stays with you for at least twenty-four hours.”

Her eyes darted to Zac, pleading. They couldn’t give her enough drugs to keep her here.

His eyes tightened, and a shadow twitched in his jaw. “Fine.”

“You’ll need to wake her every few hours tonight. She needs to take it easy until her symptoms are gone. I’ve prescribed a pain med for her headache and something for the nausea. The nurse will get you some information on post-concussion care. She should schedule a checkup with her regular doctor.”

“What about my memory?” Lucy asked. “Will I get it back?”

The doctor’s eyes shot to Zac’s, then back to her. “We’ll have to wait and see. Try not to worry too much about that. Just rest up and take care of yourself.”

After he left, Lucy pressed her fingertips to her forehead. “Try not to worry that I can’t remember the last seven months of my life?”

“Being upset isn’t going to help anything.”

“Easy for you to say! You’re not the one with the huge, gaping hole in his life.” Or in love with someone who apparently hated her now.

Zac sank into a chair. “At least you don’t have to stay. We’ll get your prescriptions filled and find a nearby hotel. In the morning I’ll start doing some research and see if I can’t figure out where you live and get you connected with your—friends.”

Lucy came upright. “You said you’d take me home. You promised.”

Zac gave her a patient look. “I meant to your home now.”

“Well, I don’t even remember that home! Or those people. I want to go back to Summer Harbor with you.”

“Lucy, that’s not—”

“This isn’t my home. I don’t remember any of it.”

“Well, that could change. You could wake up tomorrow and everything could be different.”

“Or I could never remember any of it!”

Something flickered in Zac’s eyes. Something she needed. He still had to care for her deep down, didn’t he? After all they’d shared?

“Please, Zac. Take me home. It’s where I belong.” Her eyes burned, and when she fought to hold back the tears, her feelings spilled out her lips instead. “You have to take me home. I love you.”

His eyes hardened. “Don’t say that.”

“It’s true.”

“You only think it’s true. You’ve got a life here, Lucy. You’ve got a job, and a home, and a freaking fiancé.”

“Well, I don’t remember any of it! I only remember Summer Harbor and my little apartment and you.” Her last words broke off.

Zac bolted to his feet and paced away, his hands laced behind his head. He wouldn’t turn her down. Not the Zac she knew. Would he? He faced a blank wall, his shoulders rigid, his body stiff.

It seemed forever before he finally turned around. “Fine.”

She was glad she couldn’t see the look in his eyes from across the room. Her imagination was filling in the blanks only too well.

“I’ll take you back. But we’re going to figure this out whether your memory comes back or not. Your life is here now, not in Summer Harbor.”

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